Macon takes District Title
The Macon Tigers would enter into the Class Four District Six Baseball District Tournament as the second seed with an overall record of 14-4. The Tigers would have an early test with a first round matchup against the Mexico Bulldogs who entered the game with a record of 11-11. The Tigers would send Chrisjen Riekeberg to the mound and Chrisjen would start the game with two strikeouts and a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the First, Gage Lewis would draw a one out walk but was unable to advance. In the top of the second the Bulldogs would collect a one out single but the Tigers would leave him standing on third. In the bottom of that inning, Trevin Shrum leadoff with an infield single but the Tigers were unable to advance him past first. The next opportunity for Macon would come in the third with a one out single by Riekeberg. Chrisjen was able to make his way to third but was unable to score. Mexico would scratch across a run in the top of the Fourth to take the lead. Neither team would have a runner reach until the bottom of the Fifth. Preston Stewart singled into right and Jakeb Swallow followed with a base hit to left to start the inning. Tanner Nelson dropped down a bunt and was able to reach base to load the bags. Mykel Linear would then tie the game with a fielder’s choice and Swallow would score on an error to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Macon would try to add some much-needed insurance in the Sixth with a two-out rally. Shrum started with an infield single and Stewart put runners on the corners with a base hit. The Tigers were unable to score and sit-up a tense top of the Seventh. The inning would start with a walk and then with one out the Bulldogs would add a single. A mysterious two out bunt would advance the runners to second and third. Riekeberg would then end the game with a ground ball back to him and a flip of his wrist two first gave Macon a 2-1 victory. "We are proud of our guys for facing some adversity throughout this game and finding a way to overcome it. Chrisjen was lights out on the mound and we made plays behind him on defense. Offensively, we just kept trying to grind it out and take solid at bats. Runs were at a premium during this game. We were able to get a rally going in the bottom of the 5th inning and the way Chrisjen was throwing, those 2 runs held up for us. We will face a Centralia team that is much improved from earlier this season in the championship game. We will have to play well to bring home a district championship." Head Coach Kyle Robuck
In the District Championship the Tigers would make it an all Clarence Cannon Conference final with the Centralia Panthers. The Panthers had defeated Kirksville to advance to the Championship game. Coach Robuck would send Jakeb Swallow in to make the start. The Panthers would strike first with a run in the top of the first for the early lead. The Tigers would not let that lead hold up for long. Riekeberg singled to short and Blake Murr dropped down a bunt single to start the offense. Riekeberg would then score on a one out groundout RBI by Swallow to tie the game. The first two Panthers would reach to start the second but Swallow and the Tigers defense would not allow them to advance. In the bottom of that inning the Tigers would breakout on top. Gage Lewis singled to center and went to second on a Sac bunt by Stewart. Tanner Nelson would then single into left to give Macon a 2-1 lead. With two outs, Riekeberg singled to put runners on the corners but the Tigers were not able to add to the lead. Macon would be able to add to their advantage in the bottom of the third. Jacob Nelson would leadoff with an infield single and advance to second on an error, then one out later Shrum would force an error to score Nelson. Macon now held a 3-1 lead on Centralia. One runner would reach for the Panthers would reach in the Fourth but would be cut down on a steal attempt of third as Nelson tagged him out on an over-slide of the bag. Tanner Nelson would start the bottom of the inning with a single but the Tigers were unable to take advantage. Jacob Nelson would start the next inning with a single but again the Tigers were unable to take advantage. In the bottom of the Sixth, Macon would have their best opportunity to add to the lead. Stewart walked and with one out Linear singled. After a runner is caught stealing home for the second out, Riekeberg is hit by a pitch. The Tigers are then again caught trying to steal home to end the inning. Swallow would allow the fist Panther to reach with a walk and then would strikeout the side to give the Tigers their first ever District Championship! The Tigers will now advance to Sectionals for a Tuesday afternoon game at St. Charles against the 17-5 St. Charles West Warriors. "First and foremost, we are extremely proud of our guys for hanging tough and finding a way to get through two very intense games in districts. We talked several times about overcoming adversity and finding a way to get it done and these kids did it. Centralia is a tough team and we have a lot of respect for how they have played this season. They battled us all game and made us have to find a way through some tough spots. Jakeb Swallow threw a great game and kept them from getting any sustained rallies going against us. I can't say enough about how he competed and willed us to a win on the mound. We are proud of this being our first district championship in the history of our program and will celebrate a little bit, but then we will move on and try to sure up some things before sectionals."
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